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Archive for the ‘Allergy Diet’ Category

The 24 hour stomach flu has made its rounds in our home starting with Max last Saturday, ending with Hal today.  What a week!

In other but not so new, news…

I am slowly unraveling and falling into a mild state of depression over my inability to really help with Bella’s skin.  I feel like I need to regroup, come up with a plan that I can stick with, and see it through.  My problem is I lack discipline and I’m naturally cynical – huge obstacles to overcome. When I figure out what I need to do and stick to it, I’ll let you know.  I just have to get past this next week of testing and doctor’s appointments (for Bella) before I can take the mental space to think about this.

Well… we have gotten the first round of blood work back and this is what is up…

The list is in order from least allergic (1), to most allergic (4).  We will be getting more tests done when we get to the allergist.  The RAST test isn’t a very reliable one from what we have read, nor does it cover many foods.

#1

rice
lemon
corn

#2

grapefruit
oat
coconut

#3

almond
white bean
potato

#4

egg white
milk
wheat
soy bean
peanut
sesame seed
pea

and #0 means she is not allergic and those few items are:

orange
pecan nut
carrot
lime

See, this test is pretty lame.  I mean, at least we know “for certain” that she has allergies, but damn… I need to know about so many more foods.  This coming week is filled with appointments.

Hal and I keep reminding one another that it could be worse.

I am struggling with the idea that it may be beneficial to Bella for me to give her the formula. I’m scared because I don’t want to make things worse for her but I’m also exhausted and feel it might be good for her and me.  I  eliminated from my diet so many foods.  On one hand, I’ve gotten used to the restrictions, on the other, its a bit depressing – and the restrictions could get greater with the next batch of testing.  I’m working on networking with other moms who have children with eczema like Bella’s.  I need their wisdom and support.
So, this has been what has been going on.  Hal and I are dealing well most days with me having mini-meltdowns once in a while.  Overall, we are still moving forward and keeping focused on all the wonderful parts of our lives – which is many.  And fortunately, Bella is a good natured, happy, and lovely little girl.  She is taking all this way better than her mommy.  I do need to take some steps back and regain a perspective that is healthier for both her and me.  Always easier said than done.  And always so worth the effort.

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Mama Rage.

First off…

Happy Winter Solstice! And yay!!! Laura went into labor today!!

Next…

A friend recently mentioned to me in observation, not criticism, that despite what is going on with Bella’s skin (health problem) I seem to be handling it in stride. On some levels, I would agree. That would be on the surface and the level slightly below. On a  level slightly below slightly below the surface, I am racked with guilt and grief.

In the most darkest moments, there are times when I wonder if having a second baby was the best choice for me. I imagine how easy life would be right now if I only had Max to care for and love. I get agitated when I hear Bella scratching because I know there is nothing I can do to make the itch go away. I get angry when awakened in the middle of the night by her fussing because I believe if her skin health wasn’t compromised that both she and I would be sleeping blissfully through the night (something I have not experienced since my third trimester of pregnancy with Max, three years ago). I get so depressed because it feels like I am doing so much for her… and I just wish she would heal already. All this makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel like a horrible person. A self centered woman.

I have to question why I feel so bad for just acknowledging HOW I FEEL. I mean, I not only experience these difficult-to-acknowledge emotions, but I feel an incredibly deep well of love for Bella, a bottomless well. On the deepest of levels, I always feel a magical love for her. It is what motivates and guides me. If this connection wasn’t present, I don’t think I could be doing all that I am for her skin.

Going on a rant because I have been reading, “Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics Of Radical Feminism,” a book that was recently [timely] given to me…

There is a creepy myth that has been created by men that mothers should always happily be self-sacrificing and loving towards their children. That if we utter any dissatisfaction with our children [if we speak of our real experiences with mothering] that we are dooming/hurting ourselves, and more importantly to the emotive power of the myth – our children. I think the internalization of this myth is self imposed martyrdom, self hatred, and the constant guilt of not living up to the myth. Or worst, isolation from other mothers while feeling that in order to relate we have to have the same parenting philosophies.

The lack of a safe space to speak honestly of our full spectrum of experiences with mothering only tangles us even tighter to the irrationality of the myth by giving us a motive to deceive ourselves and others about our true experiences. It is a vicious cycle of abiding by a standard that wasn’t even created by mothers.

It is important to me to have the space to speak of my true experiences with mothering. I have worked hard to surround myself with powerful women who can hear and speak of the truth. I feel strongly that all women are able to speak their truth if given a safe space to do so. It makes me angry that it is so much work to create these bonds with other women. And yes, I blame patriarchy for this difficulty. I blame men.

About Bella again…

I am not an altruistic person by nature [I don’t believe anyone is] yet doing what I am doing for Bella is an act of altruism. The fact is, NO ONE can do for Bella what I am doing for her. The fact is, I have to do it without hearing her praise and I have to do it alone – the same as I gave birth to her alone. The fact is, I can not do it with a smile on my face.

I drift in and out of resentment towards Bella’s skin (this often mixes with resentment towards Bella). I really need to not waste to much time feeling guilty for this. This resentment I have felt is temporary. When she looks up at me with her big almond-shaped brown eyes, I know her love and my anger is reminded of my love – it happens this way all the time.

Being a mama is such a bag of mixed goodies.

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PS: BaoBao’s skin is improving. Slowly, but still improving.

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I’m going to take a little break (that started a while ago) from posting. I will most likely pop in to share a picture or an update. Life is busy right now with the holidays, Max’s new school (which means my new found [semi] free time), and Bella’s acupuncture treatments.

I’m making a point to make daily trips to the floor with Max so he feels like he’s leading play or like we’re doing things co-operatively. I used to do this all the time before having Bella but fell out of it while trying to find my rhythm with two children. Rhythm, I’m finding, always changes.

I’ve also started telling stories that I [or we] make up as we go along, both of the children love that – Max often preferring a story over a book. Our relationship has grown into this really rewarding and harmonious thing. I think the key is to take the time to just be. with. the. kids. Easier said than done, let me tell you. And having Max in a home preschool that we both LOVE helps in so many good ways. Oh such good stuff is happening.

Bella also learns a lot by watching how the family interacts – especially me with Max and Papa. It has become a fine habit to include Bella in everything. She lets me know when she needs something and seems so happy to just be with us – in mama’s arms of-course.

I think I’m starting to get interested, again, in cooking. That passion has been on sabbatical for a few years now. As my chef of a husband can tell you.

Now, I say this next part knowing I have, like, only five readers. Beautiful, sexy, smart readers at that…

As life has started to get busier, I can’t help but to feel grateful to you for sharing this space with me. Your comments and support have gotten me through some very difficult times this year. I used to be quite cynical about the whole world of blogging but not anymore. This world has become another form of community for me. I thank you for that. Even if you don’t comment I know you are reading and I appreciate your presence.

There is no doubt that this year has been challenging (at best) and downright painful (at worst). However, I’m on the upswing and feeling good and normal again. Bella is seeing the acupuncturist that I used to see when I was pregnant with Max. Dr. Han helped manage my pain with RA so I have a lot of faith in her methodology of practicing Chinese medicine/acupuncture/herbs. Oh, and Bella doesn’t mind the needles at all. They only stay in for a few seconds.

I have three bags of wild looking Chinese herbs upstairs on the stove waiting to be boiled and chilled for use on BaoBao’s skin. I’m also taking herbs orally to benefit both BaoBao and myself. I needed some help with stress because there has been a few times while I was up in the middle of the night with an itchy baby that I felt as if I was slipping over the edge. I am in shock over how much better I feel after taking these herbs for only a couple of weeks. I have more faith in Chinese medicine than Western – though I do believe there is a time and place for both.

I am in a deep space right now regarding the work of being mindful. Not deep as in, “whoa, that is so deep, dude.” I mean, deep as in I can’t put words to it but I know I’m in it because I feel like myself. I feel calm even when irritated. I feel happy even when doing nothing. I’m also learning so much from Max right now because I’ve finally figured out how to listen to him. This in and of itself is blowing my mind.

So on that note, I wish all of you a lovely holiday season filled with many moments of intuitive living.

See you next year!

Love,

Michelle

P.S. This may sound strange since my son is three years old, but… I no longer see being a mom as my “job.” You know, as something I do instead of what I am. Being a mom is who I am. Just the same as I am a woman, I am a mom. And I love my mom-self. She is quite amazing.

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More later but in short…

Today was Rebel Girl’s first NAET treatment.

Well, I’m going to skip the NAET stuff and take Bella to my acupuncturist (who told me she doubts the validity of NAET). After just one “treatment” I also think it is absurd. I also question the motives/quality of any practitioner who practices this quackery. I’m all about natural medicine and stuff but that doesn’t mean I believe everything “natural” that I hear about.

I’m desperate to help Bella but not desperate enough to ignore my own eyes and instincts.

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Hal got off from work today at noon and has off until Monday! Woo hoo!

I took Bella to her 9 month check-up today. Since last week when I took Max in and Dr. B. made that comment about her skin, Rebel Girl has cleared up almost completely. She is right on track developmentally and physically… thank gawd… I don’t think I could deal with it if she wasn’t. Her only problem is the eczema. Dr. B. was impressed with my knowledge about Bella’s food allergies. She also paid me accolades for doing so well with my diet restrictions. It felt good to get some recognition in regards to how difficult it is to give up so many foods for someone else. My friends and family are good at patting me on the back… but I appreciate every pat I can get!

I have decided to delay solids until Rebel Girl is a year old… because… I have an auto immune disorder and Bella is already having issues with her immune system. It is important for me to do EVERYTHING possible to help her get a good strong start in life. Breastmilk gives Rebel Girl everything she needs to grow and be healthy… right now food will only complicate her system. Delaying solids until she is 12 months is what is best for her.

I was happy that Dr. B. was so supportive of my efforts to help Bella. Many doctors would not be as understanding and knowledgeable as Dr. B. It is comforting to be able to share so much with a medical professional and receive such warmth in return. She agreed with me on every point and assured me that I’m doing everything that can possibly be done to help Bella.

*Exhale*

I know this already but I’m not above receiving/needing some recognition and praise (as mentioned above, already, hint hint *wink*). It is hard to not fall into self proclaimed martyrdom doing what I am doing. I often do feel quite martyr-like regarding my strict diet (no dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, corn, or tree nuts – or anything with those byproducts). Then, I give myself a good swift quick kick in the head (whack).

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Hi.

Hal leaves for work this morning and I sigh to myself, “welcome to my personal hell.”

Last night and this morning I have felt hateful and sad.

Yesterday, at Max’s 3 year checkup his pediatrician took a look at Bella when I was changing her diaper and stated, “she is the worse case of eczema I have ever seen.” Thanks, I didn’t feel bad enough already. And I actually like my kid’s pediatrician.

Bella is still scratching all the time. She will clear up, I’ll eat two bites of anything, and she will flair up all over her body. I hate this. I am starting to feel desensitized to her suffering. When I change her diaper I try not to pay attention to how uncomfortable she looks as she scratches viciously at her skin. When I do pay attention it makes me cry.

Doctors are just useless. I set an appointment for Bella to see an acupuncturist. This acupuncturist is also a NAET practitioner. Not that we have the income comfortability to go the natural route – but what little extra income we do have, I’m willing to spend on healing Bella’s skin.

I know that her skin condition is a symptom… not the actual problem. My pediatrician, an allergist, and other doctors are well-meaning but have NO CLUE as to how to build my little girl’s immune system. They want to prescribe lotions and creams but don’t even address the fact that her immune system has broken down and needs some help to repair. Grrr. This is so frustrating.

I bought Bella a butt-load of cute clothes today. Three pajamas and three outfits is my definition of “butt-load.” I am not a clothes/shoe/or jewelry shopper AT ALL but I do find it fun to shop for my kids.

I drank a little alcohol yesterday. My SIL’s boyfriend is a bartender by trade and mixed up some fancy drinks for us. I used to be able to down quite a bit of liquor back in the day but not any more. My glass was still practically full when I left my in-law’s house yet I felt a little buzzed from the five sips I took. It also seems like alcohol no longer peps me up. I don’t really enjoy drinking any more.

I started writing this post in the morning after Hal left for work. I’m finishing it up at 9pm at night. I feel much better now than I did this morning.

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Pity Party.

Yesterday felt like Fall. The next three months are my favorite time of year. Halloween, Max’s birthday, The Pumpkin Festival, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, New Years and then in February, we have Groundhog’s Day to look forward to – Bella’s birthday!

I also have three friends who have babies due within the next four months: Michelle, Liz, Tonya, and Laura. What a great time of year. And Tonya and Laura don’t know what sex their baby is going to be – so exciting! I think I’m as excited as they must be to find out. I think they are both going to have a girl, but that is more about wishful thinking than intuition.

Feeling Guilty…

Last night was hell. Bella was up with teething and the itchies from, 12 – 3:30 am. I was up slightly later because it was hard falling back to sleep after those three hours of stress. Her skin totally depresses me. I feel bad for her but I also am feeling pretty sorry for myself.

When I look at foods that I can’t eat, like the English muffin bread toast that Hal enjoys shamelessly in front of me, I feel like I am a man whose been without for too long and that toast is a beautiful woman offering herself to me. If only I could just eat her. But she is forbidden. In other words, I lust for food right now. And my sex drive is at zero so I have to imagine myself as a horny man in my food metaphor.

I eat stuff I’m not suppose to eat every four or five days. I wait for Bella’s skin to clear and then I eat three pieces of the fancy sandwich cheese Hal buys for lunch. Then, her skin breaks out and the cycle starts again. Only, in that cycle I forgot to mention the absolute guilt I feel. Guilt, for my lack of control. Guilt, that maybe I did something during pregnancy that caused her this immune system screw-up. Guilt, because the milk that is sustaining Bella is also making her miserable with itchies. Guilt, because I get so pissed when she scratches. Guilt, because I’m angry that this is happening to ME. Everything she is allergic to is everything I love to eat: soy, dairy, corn, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, garbanzo beans, and I’m suspicious of white potatoes. She also breaks out when she’s on our carpeted floor for too long.

I know I shouldn’t be angry. I know I should be thankful that she is such a happy (surprisingly, she is) and healthy baby. When her skin is doing well and she isn’t itching I feel so relieved, but then I also feel like that is when I lack any self-control. I eat what I shouldn’t and I put her on the floor because she likes it there.

My MIL and her best friend always treat me like, “I’m not doing everything I could be doing” to help Bella. Of-course, my reaction to that is a big fat, FUCK YOU. They both think I should put her on formula. They don’t get it. That would compromise her immune system even more. They are not walking in my shoes so everything from their vantage point seems as simple as making a choice. A choice to do what they think I should do. Blah. I hate those women sometimes.

I need to be a strict bitch about my diet and it is taking me forever to be that person. And I feel guilty because it may never happen and that means Bella will just have to tough it out until her skin gets better. If I put her on formula and bad things start to happen, I would never forgive myself. If she breaks out for a couple days of the week until her body gets its act together, I can forgive myself for being weak about food.

Poor Bella. Poor Mama.

*Edit*

Okay, I should probably clarify my position for not wanting to use formula.

A huge reason I don’t put her on formula (even in small amounts) is because I have rheumatoid arthritis. RA is an auto immune disorder and is linked to formula feeding/not breastfeeding. I want so badly to do everything I can to give my kid’s mama’s milk for as long as possible. It is one step in preventing them from suffering with the physical pain I deal with. It’s not that I think giving Bella formula is wrong or bad or anything like that, but it would feel like a risky choice because of my kid’s predisposition to RA.

And… after making this post I went upstairs to find that Hal made me a big bowl of fruit salad. I didn’t ask him to do this so the sentiment really warmed my heart. He has changed his diet big-time in solidarity with what I’m doing for Bella. However, I just can’t expect him to give up everything I have – its too much. Since Bella arrived in our family, I have not prepared more than a handful of meals. Hal prepares foods I can eat every day, even when he is sleepy, cranky, and hungry himself. Gotta give the guy props for that.

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